Question Description

Chapter Five Essay

The adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, civil rights became part of the Constitution, guaranteed to each citizen through “equal protection of the laws.” This equal protection clause launched a century of political movements and legal efforts to press for racial equality. According to We the People, The protections won by the African American civil rights movement spilled over to protect other groups as well, including women, Latinos, Asian Americans, disabled Americans, and the LGBT community. Some notable effects of the “universalization of civil rights” has spread among each of these minority groups.

According to We the People, In the 1970s, the Supreme Court helped to establish gender discrimination as a major and highly visible civil rights issue. Although the Court refused to treat gender discrimination as the equivalent of racial discrimination, it did make it easier for plaintiffs to file and win suits on the basis of gender discrimination by applying intermediate scrutiny to these cases. Latino’s also developed legal footing in the court system with the universalization of civil rights (Ginsberg, Lowi, Weir and Tolbert, pp.170 & 195)

Latino political strategy has developed along two tracks. One is a traditional ethnic-group path of voter registration and voting along ethnic lines. The second is a legal strategy using the various civil rights laws designed to ensure fair access to the political system. The Asian American community has also made advances (Ginsberg, Lowi, Weir and Tolbert, pp. 178).

Asian Americans faced discriminatory citizenship and immigration regulations in the early to mid-twentieth century. The denial of basic civil rights to Japanese Americans culminated in the decision to remove forcibly Americans of Japanese descent as well as Japanese non-citizen residents from their homes and confine them in internment camps during World War II. However, Asian immigration increased rapidly after the 1965 Immigration Act, which lifted discriminatory quotas. In addition to the minority groups mentioned above, the disabled community saw huge advances due to the universalization of civil rights, (Ginsberg, Lowi, Weir and Tolbert. pp.181).

The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, guaranteed equal employment rights and access to public businesses for the disabled. The gay and lesbian movement has also become one of the largest civil rights movements in contemporary America. In 1996, the Supreme Court, in Romer v. Evans, explicitly extended fundamental civil rights protections to gays and lesbians. Decriminalizing certain intimate sexual conduct between consenting partners of the same sex, extended the right of privacy to gays and lesbians

To conclude, many groups in American society have faced and continue to face challenges in achieving equality, fairness, and equal protection under the laws and policies of the federal government and/or the states. Some of these groups are often overlooked because they are not as large of a percentage of the U.S. population as women or African Americans, and because organized movements to achieve equality for them are relatively young. This does not mean, however, that the discrimination they face has not been as longstanding or as severe.